The past week has been up and down. My friend who lost her husband has had some good news….although it hard to have good news after a death. Before his death she planned to move them both to an independent living facility. There was a two year wait that suddenly disappeared and she got called Tuesday that there was space for her. This is an amazing coincidence. Two weeks after her husband’s death and she gets to move to a good place.
This, too me, is the kind of coincidence that I call a miracle. I know! Lots of people don’t believe in miracles but I happen to. We just have to open our eyes to see it. This was the up part.
The down part is that I am struggling again with IBS. A while back I took a new medicine that got me so much better but only lasts a while. It cannot be taken too often so for now I will struggle with my previous normal. My daily schedule will again depend on how my body is functioning. Annoying but I can do it. Of course anxiety was triggered again but I am also dealing with that with lots of ideas from all those who suffer with the same issues. It will all work out in the long run.
God did not promise us an easy time but he did promise to hold us up when things are a problem. He has been doing that. If it is one thing that I have learned over the years it is to not stop your life for anxiety. Stopping living just makes it worse. For me, being with people off and on and sharing with friends and writing makes a great deal of difference.
Don’t ever put yourself away in that dark place and just let the world go by. It never helps. Keep pushing, keep trying and keep trusting God.
We all have bad things happen to us in life. When that happens some of dig deeper into a relationship with God. Some of us just let God go. They can’t believe that a loving, caring God could let bad things happen. Some are very angry at God and doubt his existence. This is a ‘both and” (see below) in that if you don’t believe in God how can you be angry at him?
I can understand this as the problem of terrorism, murder, rape, and other acts of violence do make us ask questions. This question has been kicked about in major theological circle for centuries. Some thinkers have tried to explain it but I don’t think that anyone has ever done it.
There are some things that we will never understand. I don’t know that I want a God who can be totally explained by someone. God is so very far beyond our very small minds. I don’t have any problem understanding that.
To accept this God we sometimes have to accept two things that are opposite each other but both are true. For me this is called both and. It can be called an oxymoron and there are some simple examples of this such as “found missing’ or “alone together.” We don’t have any problem with those but the problem of a loving God who allows pain is difficult to swallow.
I can’t explain it. For some reason I don’t feel that I have to…at least not to shore up my faith.
Today I read my daily meditation from Richard Rohr. In it he said “At their immature levels, religions can be obsessed with the differences that make them better or more right than others.”
I have found this to be true in my own life. As I have said before I was raised Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran and Baptist. It didn’t take me long to decide that since each one was a little different in perspective that none of them could be completely right. I honor that eclectic background as it made me have lots of questions and be open to differing answers.
I hope I don’t offend anyone with this story but it was something that gave me pause as a child.
I attended a Baptist church with my best friend off and on. Each week they had an altar call and people went to the front rail to profess their belief and “be saved.” After a while I noticed that there were some people who went to the rail each week. This raised the question for me “can you be saved more than once and what exactly does it mean?” I must have been about ten or eleven when I was struck by this.
Other incidents in the various churches brought questions to my mind and formed my early theology. It made me very clear on one point. There is a lot more that connects us than divides us. We often make a big fuss about the differences and forget that as we are all Christian we should be united under the same God.
To take this thought one step further in college I had the opportunity to study other religions in depth and I found that some of them accepted the same deep principles that my faith has. Again I was broadened by the idea.
I wish that we could all concentrate on the things that make us alike instead of the things that separate us. I wish that each faith and denomination could see the big picture instead of the tiny details. Our world would be so much better.
We tend to think that we have little impact on the world around us. Do we matter at all? Is what we do significant? To answer these questions I say that I believe in the “butterfly effect.” If you have never heard that phrase it means that every action of everything in the world has an effect on the rest of the world.
That means that my choices have great significance. The choice may just be getting up in the morning but somehow this will make a difference. This fits in nicely with science that says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. I do understand this but this is not where I am going exactly.
This week I have been writing about the importance of each of our lives. It is so easy to be down on ourselves and not be able to see that we have any impact in the world. It is not true. Everything matters. Everyone matters. Whether you believe in a god or not I’m sure that you believe that each of us is unique. There will never be another duplicate. Even if cloned the person’s experience will not be the same creating a different person altogether.
This reminds us again that we are important. If we share our insights…the things we have learned from our own particular experiences we will make a difference in the world.
Understand you are important…no matter your flaws or problems. You matter to the world!
I don’t think we see ourselves correctly. Most of the time we see ourselves as flawed. We are flawed…that is true but we can also be beautiful. In fact, it is the flaws that make us what we are.
Those of us who struggle with some mental health issue see ourselves as even more flawed than that average person. We have to work harder to see the beauty. It is because at some point we have been set aside by others and viewed as less than.
In my life I have noticed that people who have never had a bad thing happen to them suffer real agony when something goes wrong. They have no coping skills. A bump in the road can devastate them. They have always seen themselves as managing really well. They can’t see that it is easy to do that when nothing goes wrong. These are the people who will see anyone with some physical or mental problem and say “poor John, he has problems.” It is seen as a fault in John’s makeup. Unless something changes this perception they will continue to see things from this viewpoint.
The sad part is they have little or no empathy. Empathy comes from suffering. Empathy comes from walking a path that is similar to someone else’s. We may not want to have issues in our lives but true beauty comes from them. The beauty of brokenness.
I have a vase in my house. It is very small not very exciting. My beloved friend bought it for me when we were in college. She is now gone. I accidentally knocked the vase off and broke it and I am not a good mender. However, the vase is beautiful to me. It has some flaws but they show the years that it has been with me.
Remember our chips and cracks have formed us. They have made us what we are and left us with much empathy. Don’t forget that! We are all beautiful!
Sometimes I feel like an ostrich with my head stuck in the sand. I have written recently how it seemed that I was being of little use/help to anyone and wondered if there was something else I should be doing. That was Monday or Tuesday. On Wednesday I wrote about my day with the death of a friend and my other friend’s husband having a set back.
Yesterday I spent the day helping the first friend make plans for a funeral and after arriving home the other friend called that her husband needed a procedure done and could I come. I got home last night so tired I could hardly move. I am still tired today and am shaking my head over my stupidity. God does have a sense of humor. I complained and I got what was coming to me. Not that I wanted any of this to happen to two dear friends but God certainly showed me in no uncertain terms what I need to be doing.
It is so amazing that we can’t see clearly and know that we are where we are supposed to be. God is very good about putting us in the right place at the right time. If I had things planned that couldn’t be changed I would not have been available to help where I was needed. We all need to learn that God knows best and has it all in hand.
Perspective is a funny thing. Each of us has our own. Ours is like ourselves. It is unique. Different from anyone else. Initially our perspective came from our family. As children we were influenced by how the people around us felt about things. Probably, at least initially, accepting their point of view. As we grew and our horizons widened we began to measure that perspective against the wider world. We were influenced by our teachers, and our peers. We began to question the ideas we learned from our family and measure them against what we were learning. We began to make our own choices or match those of the people who influenced us.
When we became adults we already had a set of values that came with us. Those ideas are the perspective that we use to weigh ideas. The viewing point from which we function. For most of us the perspective glasses that we look through will change over time but for some people it is ingrained and any suggestion of change is beyond imagining.
We can see those people in our world. They are the ones who see gays as sinful, trans people as unthinkable, people of a different color as “other,” mentally ill as those who should be locked away. Sometimes life events can work their magic and these people can alter those glasses but sometimes not.
We will encounter all sorts of people in our journey through life. We have to learn to recognize those who are unable to change and let them fade from our vision. They cannot change and their aversion and hatred will just color our own view. They were shaped the way they are and we must move on and not let their negative persona influence our lives.
There are people who are open, accepting, and who offer love and support. Let the thoughts of the others roll off you and into the void where they belong. God has created only good. That includes everyone. Even those whose glasses will never change.